The city of Seattle and UW Medicine will offer free testing for the new coronavirus at two locations, an announcement that comes as public health officials encourage people who have been out protesting to be tested if they have been in contact with others ill with COVID-19 or if they are experiencing symptoms.
The two drive-thru sites, one in Sodo and the other in North Seattle, could expand the number of tests, which will be processed at the UW Medicine Virology Lab, by about 1,600 a day.
The testing locations are open to anyone who lives in Seattle and works or spends time in the city. Public Health — Seattle & King County suggests anyone with mild symptoms should be tested for COVID-19. Appointments can be made online or by calling 206-684-2489.
The Sodo testing site, at 3820 6th Ave. S., opens Friday, and the North Seattle location, at 12040 Aurora Ave. N., opens Monday.
The testing sites are opening after King County submitted an application to the state Wednesday to move into a modified Phase 1, which will allow the limited or modified reopening of some business activity for a number of sectors.
“Without a vaccine, our behavior and testing are the most important factors to limiting COVID spread and moving into new phases of normal,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in a news release. “For individuals who are gathering, please use physical distancing and facial coverings, stay home when sick, and be tested.”
The drive-thru testing sites are in former emission-testing buildings and will be staffed by the Seattle Fire Department, which has been testing of first responders and residents in long-term care facilities.
People who are tested will not receive a bill. For those with insurance, UW Medicine will bill the insurer, Medicaid or Medicare. For uninsured clients, UW Medicine will seek reimbursement from the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act Relief Fund for the cost of the test.